And you thought our story had ended!

Today is our last day on the ship. We are docked at Cape Town and have a beautiful view of the city from the ship. No fresh food has been brought on board; I guess they figure we can suck it up for another day!

At breakfast today I talked to a woman that was unable to get a flight home. She is being allowed to stay on the ship until it leaves Cape Town on the 24th but doesn’t know what will happen to her after that. She isn’t able to be in South Africa, the ship is leaving, and she has no way to get home. She is contacting the US Embassy for help.

When we got back to our cabin, I received a message from a friend that Thailand had just changed their entry requirements. Starting March 22nd (we would arrive on the 23rd), all those arriving in Thailand (foreigners and citizens) would be required to present a medical certificate issued within the past 72 hours that verified they were COVID free. There is no way possible for us to obtain said certificate, so we would not be able to board our flight.

We did some research online, hoping to change our itinerary to CPT to DOH (our original first flight leg) and then DOH to Seattle. We found a few flights, but the prices had quadrupled from a couple of days ago. But, at least a flight existed! If we could leave on the 23rd, the cost was half as much, and on the 24th, 1/4 as much.

The best possible scenario would be that we could change the date and second leg of our flight with the airline, but that would require the cruise line being willing to keep us on board until the 24th. We had high hopes since we knew there were others on board until the 24th, but Guest Services said it was too late; they could not change arrangements for us.

So, after spending a lengthy amount of time on hold, I was able to talk to an agent with Qatar Airways, who we were scheduled to fly with. He had a thick accent, so the conversation was challenging. Bottom line was that he could not change the flight. We would have to book a new one. Just at the point where we were ready to book, the call got dropped. Dang!

Back to the internet…we found a flight that would work for us. It will take us nearly two days to reach home, but at least we can GET home. Unlike most airlines, we can’t get a refund from Qatar Airways for the first flight; we will be receiving a voucher for future travel. Doubtful we will be able to use it, but you never know.

I really hope that there is no need for me to continue this story; I hope that we will be home in a few days. We shall see!

7 thoughts on “And you thought our story had ended!

  1. I’m so glad to have found your blog! My dad and his wife (John and Julieann Kavanagh) are on your ship and the last update from him was a few days ago. Knowing that you’ve at least docked is a relief. Fingers crossed everyone gets home soon.

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  2. Best wishes Heather- we’re so glad you got a flight. You’ll be in a shock when you get back to Seattle at how empty the streets are- it’s a ghost town in our downtown area. We got back from New Zealand just a few days after the first shopping panic took place at Costco and since I work there I got to see it firsthand the continuing chaos for the last few days before we got the stay-at-home announcement… the lines were around the building for a week. It’s one thing to read about it, like we did before flying in , but so strange to fly in during the middle of this situation. You should have no problem getting what you need now that the shops have had time to restock. Stay healthy.
    P&C

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    • Good to hear from you. We are sitting on our deck waiting for our group to be called off the ship. We definitely would have preferred Chiang Mai to Seattle…It will indeed be “interesting “ to see how life has changed there.

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